Colic can lead to disastrous results when it isn’t handled appropriately. Every horse owner should familiarize themselves with the signs of colic, as well as the superior actions to take to protect your horse. Colic prevention is another important component of horse ownership. There are many signs of colic in horses and there are multiple types of colic. Any horse is vulnerable to colic, as it doesn’t discriminate based on breed or age. Some horses may be more at risk than others, but it is important for every horse owner to understand the ins and outs of colic. In many situations, colic can be caused by relatively minor issues, like gas. However, in other cases, colic can be incredibly devastating and dangerous for horses. Fast action can help to protect your horse from serious illness. If you are ever concerned about an equine emergency, you should contact your vet immediately.
What is Colic?
Colic is extremely common and is one of the leading causes of death in horses. Ultimately, colic is an umbrella term that encompasses many conditions that cause pain in the abdomen of the horse. When a horse exhibits signs of colic, it is likely a reflection of the condition of their colon or gastrointestinal tract. Colic complications are often due to digestive issues. There are multiple types of colic and it can be difficult to determine what type your horse is experiencing. For example, some types of colic are caused by a buildup of gas while others occur due to impaction and the digestive system failing to function properly.
Due to the many different types of colic, it can be difficult to know when it is time to take action regarding your horse’s situation. A simple acronym, REACT, makes it easy to detect the signs of colic. R stands for restless or agitated. If your horse lies down and gets up frequently or otherwise acts restless, it may be experiencing colic. E stands for eating less. This includes aspects like loss of appetite or producing less manure than usual. A stands for abdominal pain, which can be detected by examining signs of pain. C stands for clinical changes. These changes can be detected by checking their vitals, such as pulse rate. T stands for tired or lethargic. If your horse is experiencing these symptoms, you should contact your vet immediately.
Taking steps to prevent colic can go a long way toward protecting your horse. It is especially important to ensure that your horse always has access to clean, fresh water. A horse that is without water for just two hours will be at increased risk for colic. A horse needs water in order to digest its food properly and dehydration can be incredibly dangerous for a horse. Providing good-quality feed for the horse can also help to prevent colic. Implementing a routine can significantly help to protect your horse from colic.
Whenever you need to make changes to the horse’s routine, whether it is exercise or food related, you should make the changes slowly and over time. Ensure that you cool your horse off after it has been exercised. Implement regular dental checks. A horse with dental problems may not chew their food completely, which can result in impaction. You may want to consider providing smaller feedings, multiple times a day to prevent them from eating too much at one time. It is similarly important to implement a parasite control program for your horse, as colic is often caused by the presence of parasites. Taking the steps to minimize stress in your horse can also help to prevent colic.
Signs of Colic in Horses
Knowing the signs of colic in horses can help you to detect colic before it is too late. Restlessness and pawing at the ground are common symptoms of colic. Other symptoms include an increase of certain bodily functions, such as sweating, breathing rate, and heartbeat. A horse that is rolling on the ground may be in pain due to colic. Lip curling and stretching out often indicate the presence of colic. Colic is primarily abdominal pain so a horse that is watching their flank or kicking at their abdomen may be experiencing pain in that area. A horse with colic is likely to be depressed, uninterested in food, and lethargic. If your horse is producing less manure or, alternatively, has diarrhea, it may have colic.
What to do if your Horse has Colic
Colic should always be treated as an emergency, because it can quickly lead to extensive issues. Contact your veterinarian as soon as you notice that your horse is exhibiting signs of colic. If possible, you should walk your horse gently when they are experiencing colic. This can both help to stimulate the digestive system, as well as prevent them from injuring themselves from rolling. Check their vitals to ensure that you are able to provide the information to your veterinarian when they arrive. Closely monitor a horse that is exhibiting signs of colic and ensure that they are contained in a safe area. Follow all of your vet’s instructions. Never take a “wait and see” approach to colic.
Implement an Automatic Waterer
Here at Bar Bar A, we care about the health of your horses. Horses need a great deal of water to ensure that their digestive system is able to operate efficiently and effectively. Providing a consistent, reliable supply of clean water to your horse is an important component of preventing a variety of issues, including colic. We believe that electricity, water, and animals are a disastrous combination. Our automatic waterer uses a method that allows your horse to have access to water at a comfortable temperature without being exposed to the potential hazards of electricity. This system can prevent dehydration and ensure that your horses remain in the best possible health. To learn more about how this system can provide a consistent water supply to your horse, as well as how it can benefit your horse’s health, contact us today!